Friday, 29 November 2013
I admit that, most of the time, I am able to ignore my homesickness through a sheer force of will. I love my life here in Manchester. My husband and my son are my favorite people to be with in the world. Yesterday morning however, I was hit hard with longing. Longing for my family and for the familiar traditions, food, and noise of Thanksgiving in San Antonio. I worried that I wouldn't make it through the Skype session we'd arranged without bursting into tears. By the time it was skype-o-clock, I was feeling better and had procured the ingredients to make a pumpkin pie. (Did you know that it's really hard to find a pie tin in the UK? By really hard, I mean neither of the 2 grocery stores in our area had any.)
So here is where I will tell you things I'm thankful for:
I'm thankful for my son and my husband. I simply adore them. They are both kind and clever and beautiful and funny. Every day I am happy to be theirs.
I'm thankful for my parents. They are so loving and supportive. They are also so understanding. I know they hate (HATE!) the distance between us- especially now that Linus is around. And I do too. However, I have the joy of my marriage and son to make up for it. They have to wait for our all too infrequent visits. They are such wonderful parents and grandparents. We are all so very lucky to have them.
The biggest thing that I was thankful for yesterday, though, was this:
I'm thankful technology and that my G'ma doesn't really understand it. We connected to my family before they sat down to dinner on my brother's iPad. When my beloved G'ma was handed the iPad, we spoke briefly and she got to talk to her first-born great grandson. I didn't, however get to hear whatever she tearfully said to us after that. I think this is a very good thing as I likely wouldn't have been able to keep it together. Instead, I had a good laugh as I played charades to let them know I couldn't hear and the iPad was passed back to my brother to fix. We got passed around the kitchen of my Aunt and Uncle's bustling house and said hello to everyone. Linus sang some songs and met his cousin Wyatt. We were introduced to my cousin's fiance- a lovely girl. The laughter and noise and hub-bub of preparation almost made me feel like we were there for those brief moments. And it was wonderful.
Today, I made my pumpkin pie. In a loose-bottomed flan tin because that's what I had. And it was good. And for that, I'm thankful.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Ross: People are talking about Gravity. Have we heard about it?
Me: Yes. It's with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in space. We watched her on The Daily Show the other day talking about it.
Ross: George Clooney?
Me: Yes. (pause and eye roll) No. Sandra Bullock.
Ross: (confidently) George Clooney is the one in the Nespresso Commercials.
Me: Yes. That is what he's primarily known for. (huge eye roll)
The best ways to get Ross' attention are by relating something to coffee, British comedy from the first half of the 20th century, or Frasier. He's a unique snowflake.
All this to say that coffee is important in our house. You might remember when I told you about our coffee machine, the aforementioned Nespresso. We are still really happy with it more than 2 years later. Well the people at Big Cup Little Cup read that post and offered me the chance to try some of their coffee for free in exchange for reviewing their product.
Needless to say, I was super-excited to get my first product review offer. Who doesn't love free stuff!?! I knew Ross would be thrilled to. He replied "Free coffee is my second favorite kind of coffee!" Clearly, good coffee is in first place. With free AND good coffee taking a special place above the ranking system. It's very scientific.
Let me tell you a little bit about what Big Cup Little Cup has to offer. They are a smaller company that is trying to take on the might of Nestle and offer an alternative to discerning coffee drinkers with Nespresso machines. They are a UK-based company who offer 9 different varieties of coffee in pods that are guaranteed compatible with most Nespresso machines (check which ones here). They also offer free shipping on all orders over £50.
Now lets talk about the biggest advantage of BCLC pods. What is the best thing about coffee? I'll tell you. The smell. Mmmmmmm. Fresh grounds. Nespresso pods don't smell at all. Once you open the packet that a BCLC pod comes in you get a huge whiff of delicious coffee smell. So good.
If you're looking for alternative pods for your Nespresso machine, I'd encourage you to give Big Cup Little Cup a try! You can't have a Linus coffee mug though. That would just be creepy.
**Big Cup Little Cup provided us with 2 boxes of their pods to try in exchange for a review. They didn't compensate me in any other way. All of the opinions expressed are my own. No one tells me what to say, buddy.**
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
My darling boy certainly loved me, but he just wasn't eager to name me. He had "Dada" down for a long time before he ever uttered the word "Mama" in reference to me. Heck, he even had Grandma and Grandpa. He was obsessed with Jack, the little blond boy in Mr. Daydream after a single reading- proclaiming "Jack!" and pointing with delight.
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
You are 20 months old and we love you so much. That should come as no surprise. We think you are so fun and funny and just all-aroud-awesome. In that respect nothing much as changed. Daddy and I look at each other every day and marvel at how much we like you. You make us smile and laugh so much.
You have learned so much in the last few months. Running, jumping, and talking up a storm occupy our days. You are just starting to put together some phrases. "Bobbin Song" was your first word combo. You love to sing "Wind the Bobbin Up" and ask for it often. You are also working on manners. You know the signs for "please" and "thank you". If I ask you to ask for something nicely you are very good at adding please to your request. Sometimes you sign it, sometimes you say it, and sometimes you do both. You will sign "thank you" when prompted, but haven't started saying it yet. It's really interesting to me to see how your language develops. You are maintaining a neat combination of signing and speaking.
You are learning so much and we've inadvertently taught you a few queues that we think are hilariously awesome. When someone says "fast feet" you run in place. When someone says "What are you gonna do?" you put your hands out as if shrugging your shoulders. When you are cheering yourself or someone else on at an accomplishment you will put your arms up in the air and say "Did it!".
Thursday, 31 October 2013
There's the first time you buy new toiletries and realize that you can't get your trusted deodorant/moisturiser/razor. There's the first time you need some new clothes and you want to cry because you can't wrap your head around the fact that you have to go up 2 sizes in England. (Not that you are actually bigger, but that doesn't matter to your irrational brain that is tied to the number of your American size.)
There's the time that you realized you looked right at a crosswalk, rather than left without even thinking about it. There are those times when you stumble over your words because your brain can't keep straight the American and British word choices. You can't figure out the right way to say it and then end up saying something that is a bizarre mix of the two that would make sense to neither an American or a Brit. Awesome!
There's the time your Mom asks is a phrase you used was British and your answer is "huh... well, if you didn't understand it, then it must be..." Then there's the time that you hear yourself say something and cringe. The other day, I had one of those moments. I was on the phone with someone and they asked if the number I had called from was the best number to reach me at. I heard myself reply, "Yes, it's my mobile". And not just mobile like I would normally say it (mo-bull). No, I said moBILE.
Sunday, 13 October 2013
Something happens, or he says something, and I wonder- is his reaction/answer weird to me because of our cultural differences, or because he's a weird guy. (A wonderful, kooky, lovely, weird guy.) Sometimes, he's not sure. Then I have to ask my friends about it so they can tell me if it's a cultural thing or a Ross thing.
And now, an example.
Are you familiar with egg cups? If you are British, the answer is "Certainly!". I'm not sure any more, but I don't think I'd ever heard of one before moving to the UK. They go crazy for them here.
There are cute ones, funny ones, personalized ones, fancy ones. They are often sold in gift sets. There even exists such a thing as an egg cozy. You know, to keep your egg warm in the brief period of time between when goes into the egg cup and when you eat it.
Anyway. I get that they are a British staple. I get that they are commonly used- a standard English breakfast food is Eggs & Soldiers. I think I might have used one a couple of times. Ross uses one maybe once a month.
The thing is... we have at least 11. And that's just ones I can think of off the top of my head. Because they're visible in my kitchen without opening any cabinets or digging around. So there are probably more squirrelled away in the recesses of our flat. ELEVEN! For 2 people.
Why? Is this a British thing? To have more egg cups than your household needs? To have several sets of different designs and styles? Or is it just because my husband's family is weird? And likes egg cups to an excessive extent?
In closing, I present a clip from one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite British sitcoms. It's long, but there's no good way to explain the title of this post without watching quite a bit.
Is there anything that you randomly have a lot of? Please, tell me I'm not alone.
Monday, 23 September 2013
I believe that the words he hears and the intent behind them will soak into his soul. I want him to have these words written on his heart, so he can carry them with him all his life. I believe it is my job as his mother to lay the foundations of self esteem and that, even this small speech, whispered lovingly into his ear every day, will help him.
To that effect, I started thinking about the words I was saying. I decided to amend two of my words. I decided that, while he is sweet, KIND is the word I'd like to steep him in. "You are kind" became the beginning of my sleepy time speech. Sweet is nice. It makes others smile. But- it feels more surface. Like a veneer of sugar. Kind is nice and makes others smile, but it can be revolutionary in a way that sweetness cannot. A small act of true kindness can change lives. I hope that Linus will have a kind spirit.
The other change I made was prompted by an article a friend shared on Facebook. I started to think about the implications of telling Linus that he his smart. The article made me think. It made me think about the fact that, here in Britain, babies and small children are most often praised for being clever.
Smart. Clever. At first glance, it might just seem to be one of the hundreds of instances where the two cultures have differing preferences for similar words. The more I thought about it, however, I came to believe that there's more to it than that. There is a deep-rooted difference in cultural attitudes in the US and the UK. The US is shiny and new. It is confident, loud and brash. It is full of people who would hold up flashing neon signs proclaiming that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And increasingly, children who's parents are willing to spend all their time and energy holding up their signs for them. The UK is ancient and staid. It is self-deprecating and stoic. It's people love to complain, but are also famous for their ability to suck it up and quietly do what needs to be done without a show or expecting of praise. Their is even an unspoken mindset that is isn't done to be too striving or self-confident, or flashy.
I thought about the two words and how they are different. In some subtle way, they are each completely reflecting of their respective cultures. Smart is something that you are- without trying, without doing anything to earn. You are smart because you are smart. Your brain is uniquely, inherently superior. Clever, on the other hand, has a subtle implication of more than that. A clever person doesn't just know the answer. They are intelligent enough to work to figure it out. And I like that. I like the idea of instilling in Linus the confidence that he has the resources to figure things out. That he can work hard and exercise his beautiful mind. That his natural-born abilities are not all he has. He has the resourcefulness to reach beyond himself. Does that make sense? It may just be reading too much into a word, but it rings true with me.
And so, I decided to alter half of my words. I take no issue with the other two. Beautiful is exactly what he is. He is beautiful of body and spirit. His very creation is beautiful, regardless of the (admittedly stunning) package. And funny. He's just so, so funny. Which is important. Terribly important.
So I now tell him that he is: kind, clever, beautiful, funny. Because he is. And he always will be. And it's important that he knows it. And so I tell him.
Do you see a difference between smart and clever?
What words do you want to wrap your loved ones in?
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
I've had a bit of bloggerblock lately. (I don't know if you noticed. The tale tell clue was the fact that I haven't written anything besides letters to Linus in MONTHS.) I know I've said before that I was going to get back on the horse, but I really think I mean it this time. More and more, these days, I'm finding myself thinking "Oh, that would make a good blog post!" I think that means I should get my butt in gear again.
I don't know how many readers I have any more between the demise of Reader and my radio silence, but I know my mom always enjoys when I post. (Hi Mom! Love you.)
I will share with you a new exciting thing in my life. Do you know about autoawesome? Ross and I just discovered it. Our phones automatically sync with Google+, so all of our pictures get uploaded automatically. The great thing is, Google Pictures (formerly Picasa) will take series of 5 or more pictures and automatically create gifs. It is awesome. Since gifs aren't easy to share on Facebook, we wanted an easy place to share them with friends and family. In case any of your are curious, you can follow our gifs (which are nearly all, unsurprisingly Linus-related) at www.awesomewag.blogspot.com
Mostly I just wanted to tell you about it so you could get your own awesome gifs.
Tuesday, 6 August 2013
It has been a fun two months! You have really grown by leaps and bounds- physically and mentally (though I feel like I'm always saying that)! You are suddenly a BOY. I marvel at you and wonder where my baby has gone.
You are a master of movement. Running, climbing on everything, experimenting with jumping, and playing. It seems amazing that you have such sureness of self. You barrell forward towards whatever you want without any doubt of your ability. This doesn't always go well, but luckily you are also good at falling. :)
You are doing so well with sleep. You generally go down easily without any fuss and are getting awesome at self-soothing. You have a few things in the crib with you, but aren't particularly attached to anything special. Tonight when I checked on you, you'd thrown out all your toys and were cuddling a book. Silly boy! You generally have a nearly 2 hour nap after lunch. I'm loving having time to eat my lunch and do a few chores in peace.
Your eating is pretty good. You definitely know what you like and aren't afraid to let us know. Usually what you want is whatever your Dad is eating. It never fails! You love pickles, olives, cottage cheese, tomatoes, and all fruit. You randomly have stopped liking yogurt in the last couple of weeks. So bizarre. Thankfully, we finally figured out the milk situation. Goat's milk for the win!
As far as communication, you are rocking it. You say some words, sign others, and a few select you say and sign. You say and sign: all done, bye, duck/quack, and bath. You sign: more, chicken, and food. You say: hat, book, ball, button (baba), cheese, shoes, moo, baa. You are working on Grandma and Grandpa. You rarely say Dada. Mama is even more rare. Usually only when you are insisting that I eat something you are trying to feed me. We're getting there though. Right? Right. You understand way more than that. You love to look at your picture book and point to different things that I name. It's really cool to watch you learn new words every day.
You and Daddy still dig each other the most. You love to climb up and sit next to him. You have taken to kissing his feet recently. We're not sure where that came from or what it's about, but it's cute and funny. You are also enjoying getting The Yickers. It's a thing from Daddy's family where you get tickled on the thigh. Mommy hates them, but I'm glad you find them amusing.
Sweet baby, you are the light of my days. You make me laugh and smile. You are just the best.
Love you so, so much,
Ps. I couldn't find my converter for my laptop power cord, so I am typing this on the Tab. It's too hard to add pictures on this so I'll add them later. Once I find the converter. I would wait to publish, but Grandma gets very antsy.
Monday, 3 June 2013
Well hello there, my sweet boy. I've had to combine the last two months because I never got around to your 14 month letter. I've been busy helping daddy with work in the evenings. I'm going to try to get back on the blogging wagon (I know... I've said it before. This time, I think I mean it.)
So much has happened in the last two months! I feel like I'm always saying this, but you've made some huge developmental leaps. I look at you and wonder what happened to my baby. You are so grown up! You really are a toddler now. (Though you'll always be my sweet baby!) You are a master walker now. You are super-fast and have pretty good balance. You rarely crawl these days. It's all go, go, go. You have several words now. You're favorite is "down" because you always want to get down and walk around. To make things difficult, you won't hold hands. Never have. That means that there are often times when you want "down", but it just isn't safe. I think we'll be getting a kiddie leash before long (even though I always swore they were silly before).
Your other words are: round (asking us to do the rhyme "Round and Round the Garden"), again, row (asking for "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"), all done, shoes, outside, down
You sign for: bath, food, more, water, all done, duck (very rare), sleep, milk
You make noises for these animals: zebra, lion, duck, monkey, fish (not consistently)
You understand a whole lot more and add new things every day. I'm constantly amazed by things you comprehend. It is so much fun watching you grown and learn. Daddy and I think you are a genius, you know.
We had a wonderful visit with Grandma and Grandpa mid-May. It was too short, but we are excited that we'll see them again in a couple of weeks. You were a bit shy and were finally warming up just when it was time for them to go. I'm so sad we don't get to spend more time together, but I'm grateful for any time we get. Grandma & Grandpa has a grand time following you around and loved watching you gobble up your food.
Your sleep is awesome. You sleep through the night and have (almost always) just one nap, which you go down for without trouble. Even better, if we're out and about you'll nap in the stroller. I love that you are flexible and don't get too out-of-sorts if we don't stick to a strict schedule.
My darling boy, you are so much fun and so, so wonderful. I almost can't stand it. I'm brought to tears on a daily basis by how amazing I think you are.
Love, love, love you,
Thursday, 4 April 2013
You are 13 months old! I was telling someone how old you were the other day and I couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that you are more than a year old already. You have had quite the month! It's been a little crazy. You kicked off the month by going spectacularly off your schedule and have only just gotten back on track. I am certainly breathing a sigh of relief that you are back on track. I don't like seeing you out of sorts.
It all started when we gave you cow's milk for the first time the day after your birthday. You seemed to really like it and drank it up well, but the next day you were horribly sick and couldn't keep anything down! You'd never been sick before and it was very upsetting to us to see you vomiting. Poor baby! You were pretty miserable for a few days after, not eating much and nursing a lot more.
I've been saying for ages that I'm happy to breastfeed as long as you want, but that hopefully you'd be ready to be done by about 18 months. I'm not going to lie, I started to feel a bit like you were never going to be done! It was hard for me to feel like I'd lost ground when you added nursing sessions back. I also saw cow's milk as a natural transition. After your first try you started refusing it and that made me panic about not having something to replace breast milk with. Yikes! By the end of the month you actually finally dropped to nursing just after waking up and again before bed. What a relief! I'm happy with that schedule for a while. You still won't have milk, but you are getting plenty of dairy with yogurt and cheese.
You are really taking off walking now. You are so steady standing still that it amazes us. You have also figured out how to climb on the couch and it is your favorite place. You took a few days to figure out being safe on the couch, but now you can scramble up and down like a champ. We really need to get you some shoes so you can try your walking when we're out and about. It also might get you to keep your socks on. You love to take them off and show off your bare toes.
You are so funny! You are really learning so much about playing and interacting. You still love to play peek-a-boo. You play it in the bath and even on Skype with Grandma and Grandpa. It's pretty adorable. You are also playing with your toys more and differently. It's neat to watch you try different things and figure out how things work. Your daddy and I might be biased, but we think you are very smart!
Oh how we love you my little baby!
Friday, 22 March 2013
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
You are a year old now. (Well technically you are a year and nearly two weeks old now because mommy has fallen off the blogging wagon, but whatever...) You are such an amazing little guy. I can't tell you how often you make me laugh. I go teary thinking about how much I love you at least once a day. It blows my mind to think how much you have changed in the last 12 months, and then how much you will change in the coming years.
Sunday, 10 February 2013
Today, I am cheerful that I am 34 years old. I got to celebrate the day with my two most favourite guys who make me smile so big. I have amazing parents, family, and friends. I'm a lucky, lucky girl. Can't wait to see what the next year brings.
Monday, 4 February 2013
How is it possible that you are nearly a year old! You are so awesome. I find myself utterly obsessed with how adorable and wonderful you are. I'm THAT mom. And I don't even care. I want everyone to know how amazing you are.
You are learning and growing so fast. You haven't made any real progress on walking, (just a couple of steps at a time, very rarely) but you are getting so steady at standing. You can stand without holding on to anything for a really long time. You get a look on your face like you're thinking about walking, but then think better of it and decide to crawl instead. I give you about a bazillion kisses a day which has led to your greatest trick yet. One day, we were out walking and I had you in the sling. I was talking to you about what we were doing and said something about "kisses". Imagine my surprise, when you started blowing sweet baby kisses to me! I did it again to make sure, and- sure enough- you know what "Kisses" means! Daddy and I are taking total advantage of this new trick and getting kisses from you as often as we can.
You are eating and sleeping well, though don't talk to me about naps. I said last month that I was going to work on getting you back in your crib for your naps, but that never happened. Partly, I just like snuggling with you now while I can! I know you won't always be a sweet little baby who wants to take naps with Mommy so I'm taking full advantage.
I love you, love you, love you.
Saturday, 2 February 2013
Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Ten months! You are ten months old! We celebrated your first Christmas and got a picture taken with Santa. I'm hoping to make it an annual tradition (though I think we'll try to find a better Santa next year... maybe one not located in a strip centre parking lot inside a tiny wooden hut!)
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
I'm publishing this to make myself accountable. Tomorrow night I'll be back with a 10 Month letter because I'll have finally figured out how to post more pictures. (I appear to be able to past them from my phone, but that's as far as I've gotten!)
Until then, please enjoy this picture of Linus doing an Elvis impression!